<
>

Future rivalry: Prokhorov vs. Mozgov?

When Team USA takes on Russia tomorrow morning (ESPN, 11 a.m. EST), they'll be facing the biggest team so far in the FIBA World Championship, headlined by 7'1" center Timofey Mozgov (USA Today). You better believe Nets owner and fellow Russian Mikhail Prokhorov will be watching, especially to see how Mozgov performs and if it brings any reassurance to a decision he made during the summer (The Star-Ledger). After Mozgov signed with the Knicks in July, Prokhorov said, "We never considered letting him on our roster, but I am very happy the second Russian player has come to the league." If Mozgov ends up shining this season, a Mozgov vs. Prokhorov rivalry would stir things up a bit in the metropolitan area, where pro basketball has tanked recently. The Nets, however, should definitely see an upswing starting in October (NBA.com). And if they and the Knicks are fighting for the eighth seed in the East, maybe even Prokhorov will play a little Spike Lee ball and sit courtside to get under Mozgov's skin, like Lee tried to do with Reggie Miller. But first, let's see how tomorrow goes and if Mozgov can leave a mark on the Americans and, of course, Prokhorov.

Jared Zwerling is a senior researcher for ESPN The Magazine and a regular contributor to ESPN RISE. You can follow him on Twitter: @jaredzwerling